Help Me Set My October TBR!

Hello, friends! 

We’ve still got another ten days before the end of September but I’m already thinking of my October TBR.

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I’ve got a couple of books in mind already but since I’m reading more than ever (I’ve already finished my September TBR I set last month!) I’m looking for a few more for October.

This is what I’ve got so far…

What am I looking for?

Two things… 

  • A contemporary YA: As you know, I read mostly contemporary YA with the odd classic thrown in. Contemporary YA is what I love and it’ll always be my favourite. I have a long list of contemporaries I need to read someday but I’m asking YOU which one I should read first. So, tell me… what’s your favourite contemporary YA? Which one should I read RIGHT NOW?
  • A non-contemporary YA: Next month, I want to take a little break from contemporary (at least for a couple of days ahaha) and try something different. The problem is….I don’t know where to start.
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My world is limited to YA contemporary….help!

I’ve only read contemporary so far this year, so I’m out of the loop of what’s good and what’s not. That’s where you come in. I’m kindly going to ask you to give me a couple of recommendations, books I should absolutely give it a chance. I’m okay with all genres (but I’d like something space-related maybe??) so go nuts!

Give me all the recs!

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Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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Details & Summary:

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 30th 2017
Pages: 380

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

My thoughts…

When Dimple Met Rishi is one of the most hyped books of this year. Before reading it myself, I’d read countless reviews and most of them were very, very positive. As a consequence, I had high expectations and I was very excited to read it. Sadly, I didn’t love it or like it as much as I thought I would. While Dimple and Rishi showcase a healthy, realistic relationship, which we need to see more of in YA, I had a few problems with the story outside the romance.

I’ll start with the good stuff. Dimple and Rishi are both great characters. Dimple knows what she wants. She’s passionate about coding and she’s going to study at Stanford and hopefully someday have a career like her idol, Jenny Lindt. She’s not interested in going to university for the sole purpose of finding her IIH (Ideal Indian Husband) like her parents want her to.

“She refused to be one of those girls who gave up on everything they’d been planning simply because a boy entered the picture.”

Then there’s Rishi, who values family, tradition, and culture. He’s more than okay with the idea of meeting a girl his parents chose for him. He’s also completely okay and confident about the person he is, which was my favourite thing about him.

“If no one says, ‘This is me, this is what I believe in, and this is why I’m different, and this is why that’s okay’, then what’s the point? What’s the point of living in this beautiful, great melting pot where everyone can dare to be anything they want to be?”

Of course, the trouble starts when they meet. Rishi was aware he was being set up with someone he hoped he would marry someday. Dimple was not; she was kind of tricked by her parents.

All in all, I think the arranged marriage theme was done well. I understood both sides and sympathised with both Dimple and Rishi. I was interested to see how they’d get along after this misunderstanding. And, for a while, I really did like their relationship. Though rushed (they are completely in love in just a few weeks), I liked how it was a healthy, realistic relationship where both sides respect and value each other. Very nice to see in YA.

What I didn’t like was how the romance completely took over the plot. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a romance novel, but still. I respected Dimple so much for wanting a career and being passionate about coding and I felt like that all kind of disappeared into the background. Coding is supposed to be her number one passion, so I was very disappointed about how little time she seemed to spend on her project. It was mentioned a couple of times here and there, but I felt like she didn’t work on it that much. All of her time seemed to go toward dating Rishi, dealing with the Amberzombies (rich, mean kids? Really? Enoug with this overused trope already), and the talent show. Basically, the project kind of served as a background to their relationship, which is a real shame since I know how much hard work, time, and dedication it takes in real life.

I also wasn’t a big fan of how literally everything turned out okay in the end.

SPOILER ALERT….

Dimple and Rishi didn’t win but she did get a chance to meet Jenny Lindt who just so happens to love her idea so much she’s willing to invest in it. Dimple contacted Rishi’s role model / idol who also contacts him back. I mean, I really wish these kind of things happened in real life and I could get an answer from Elon Musk or J.K Rowling or anyone else who’s famous (and extremely busy!), but they rarely do.

The same thing goes for other plot points, such as Rishi’s relationship with his brother Ashish. They were all wrapped up rather fast and easy, which felt all a bit too convenionent to me and not very realistic.

While Dimple and Rishi deserves credit for showcasing a healthy, realistic teenage relationship and I loved reading about a different culture than mine, it’s a shame the romance dominated the plot as much as it did and their goals and interests were pushed to the background.

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Dreary Day Reads: Books for Rainy Days

Hello, friends! 

The days are getting darker. It’s dark when I leave for work and the evenings are getting darker and colder too. No more strolling around the neighbourhood while the sun sets or going for ice cream late at night.

Right now, whe weather is okay where I live, but they’ve forecast a lot of rain for the end of the week. And since I live in a country where it raines quite often, I thought I’d share my favourite books to read on dreary days.

I love to pick up any one of these books and curl up in bed with a blanket and a box of chocolates in reach.

  • We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson: because it’s very bleak and it’s about the end of the world (kind of) and, somehow, reading this book on a sunny day doesn’t feel right.
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: because you get to escape your own (dreary) world and immerse yourself into a wonderfully, magical one. Any of the HP are good but if I had to choose, I’d probably pick Prisoner of Azkaban because it’s my favourite or the Half-Blood Prince because it’s a bit darker and because I remember it was raining and there was a thunder storm when I got the part where a certain someone dies. It’s stuck by me as a “rainy day book” ever since.
  • History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera or any other Silvera book: because you can go outside afterward and let the rain wash away your tears.
  • One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus: because who doesn’t love a good mystery on a rainy day?
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: because it’s a beautifully written book about the lives of a blind French girl and a Germany boy / soldier during WWII. The prose is stunning and the story captivating. You won’t want to put this one done before you’ve reached the last page.
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: because it transports your rainy day to another time and place. No one knows how to write dreary settings and lives better than Charles Dickens.
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brönte: because a rainy day is perfect for a dark, gothic novel like Wuthering Heights. You’ll find very little happiness in this book but the storylines are captivating and the descriptions of the moors and the English countryside in general are beautiful and mesmerizing.

Would / Do you like to read any of these books on a rainy day? Which are your own favourites? Let me know in the comments!

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Around the Blog #9 – Making up for a bad week

Hello, friends!

This week, I haven’t been as active in the blogging community as I would’ve liked to be. I had a busy and exciting week work-wise and I’m trying to figure out the plot of my new WIP, which has been a struggle. I feel like it’s cost me several years of my life. But I’m getting there, so that’s good news.

BUT that doesn’t mean I haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on in the community. I might not have commented as much as I usually do, but I’ve read some great posts. Today’s my chance to give them all the love they deserve by featuring them in this post.

As you know, Around the Blog is a weekly post that features my favourite posts I’ve read during that week. It’s my way of appreciating other bloggers’ content and to share the love for the chosen posts and bloggers with my followers in the hope they’ll love them as much as I do.

Realistic Romantic Obstacles by Christine @ The Story Salve: You know how in YA our teenage characters fall in love, get together and then…the story ends? It’s very rare to see a YA novel that starts out with an established relationship OR one where the couple decides it’s not going to work out and break up (for good). Basically, there are very little realistic teenage relationships in YA nowadays. I mean, I get it. We all love our OTPs and we want them to be happy, but even so, I’d like to see realistic relationships, and so does Christine! Go check out her post.

2018 Releases I’m Excited For by Savannah @the Book Prophet: We’ve still got a couple of months to go, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look forward to some amazing books that are set to release next year! Find out which books you should definitely add to your TBR in Savannah’s blog post.

How to Start a Bullet Journal Without Breaking the Bank by Abigail @ Miss Abigail: Do you want a pretty bullet journal but you don’t want it to cost you a fortune?? Well…I’ve got news for you! Abigail’s got all the tips and tricks.

How to: Be on Top of Your Commenting Game by Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books: NO ONE does a better job at blog hopping than Marie. Do you want to know how she does it? Go check out her post! It’s full of great tips.

That’s it!

See you tomorrow.

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My WIP’s Character Aesthetics

Sooo….

This is unexpected, isn’t it?

I’ve talked about writing before. Okay… I’ve hinted at it from time to time. The reason why I’ve never talked much about it is because I don’t want to jinx myself by talking about something that might never get finished. I’m notorious for not finishing my WIPs.

BUT…

I really like this WIP, guys! I feel like it’s the story I’m meant to write. Yeah, yeah, I know that sounds cliché, but whatever. I haven’t felt this excited about a project in a long, long time and I want to share it with someone.

There’s only one problem…

I can’t tell you much about it! YET. I’ve only written about a quarter and I’m still figuring out the plot myself.

What I CAN tell you is that it’s split up into two timelines because I just loooove to make things complicated and hard for myself  both of which are narrated by Liv (17). I’m not even going to try and formulate the plot I’ve come up with thus far. Instead, I’m going to list a couple of things that you may or may not find in my WIP

  • the enemies to friends trope (between two girls!)
  • childhood friends who reconnect years later… and become more than friends
  • summer school
  • powerful, controlling families
  • death
  • mystery
  • many, many secrets
  • lies
  • Game of Thrones / HP references
  • web comics
  • expectations
  • girl power / feminism
  • complicated family dynamics
  • pain

That doesn’t sound particularly cheery, does it? But that’s exactly what I’m going for. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I prefer emotional (somewhat “darker”) books to ones that are fluffy and happy. Basically, I want to make my readers cry and I’m not even sorry.

I realise that all of this makes little sense (heck, sometimes it doesn’t even make sense to me!). So as to not make this a completely useless post, I’m going to share my character aesthetics with you. It’s the first time I’ve ever done these but I’m really happy with them even though it took me HOURS, which is time I probably should’ve been spent writing

So, without further ado, here are…

LIV 

WIP-Liv

AYAH

WIP-Ayah

ION

WIP-Ion

I’m reaaalllyyy nervous about sharing this with you so I hope you like it!

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Mini-reviews: Fangirl, My Heart and Other Black Holes & Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist (e-ARC)

Hello, friends!

Since I’m WAY behind on reviews, I thought I’d do something different today. Instead of writing a full review for all the books I’ve read in the last couple of weeks (which is too daunting!) I thought I’d get a couple out of the way by doing mini-reviews. I’ve seen these type of posts around for a while now and I really enjoy reading mini-review myself, so why not try it out and see how it goes?

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

16068905I’ve mentioned it in the New York Times “By the Book” Tag already but Fangirl kind of disappointed me.  I’d heard so many good things about it and everyone recommended me reading this one ASAP, but after reading it, I’ve come to the conclusion that this book isn’t for me. Maybe the expectations were too high? I don’t know.

The biggest problem I had was not being able to relate to Cath. Which is strange considering I spent most of my time in Uni locking myself up in my dorm as well. And I totally get not wanting to go eat in the cafeteria because there’s just too many people and noise and you don’t know where to sit and … Yeah. The anxiety was done really well.

However, I thought she was too stubborn and naïve. Why was she so offended when her professor told her she couldn’t hand in fan fiction as an assignement? Everyone knows it’s copyright, no matter how much you change the characters or the story. It’s not original fiction. And even after her professor gave her a second chance (I really liked her btw! She was a very caring person), Cath was too stubborn to even give original fiction a shot, which I thought was very priviliged behaviour on her part. In the end, she did do it, but it didn’t seem like she had really changed her mind about fan fiction or original fiction.

I did like the relationships. The Reagan-Cath relationship was GOLD and Levi-Cath was okay, though unrealistic IMO. I loved her dad but didn’t care much for her sister, which was another problem for me.

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

18336965Oh my. This is a very bleak but (as far as I can tell) realistic account of two teenagers who’re depressed and suicidal. I loved Aysel’s narration and her personality. Her obsession with physics, particularly potential energy, was very interesting to read about. She’s just a smart, caring girl to whom bad things have happened. The same goes for her “suicide partner” Roman, a.k.a. FrozenRobot. Yes, he made a terrible mistake, but that doesn’t mean he deserves to die.

Before you go, “they’re going to fall in love and save each other, aren’t they?” and dismiss this book, I want to tell you that’s not what happens. Not really. It’s not some cheesy book about love being the cure or anything like that. At the end of the book, neither of them is saved or cured, but they do decide to give life another shot, which is as much as you can realistically expect of them given the state of their mental health throughout the book. To me, the ending strikes the right balance between being hopeful and realistic.

Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist by John Young

**Thank you to NetGalley and Floris Books for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for an honest review**

35428869Don’t worry, this one is not as bleak as the title suggests. In fact, this is quite a fun read. Connor might be suffering from cancer, but that boy has got a lot of life in him. He’s a very spirited, kind boy who’s just trying to visit his dad in jail. Much to his surprise (and mine!), his nemisis, Skeates, plays a big role in his journey. Together, they have a crazy adventure while travelling across Scotland.

I liked the characters and the unexpected bromance between Connor and Skeates, but the plot could’ve been tidied up. I had some problems with the pacing, which felt rushed toward the end. Also, some things happened out of nowhere. I can’t tell you because of spoilers, but I can tell you that it has something to do about the reason Connor’s dad is in prison. Basically, the reason behind it was supposed to be this big, astounding event, but the revelation fell a bit flat for me. It was all rather convenionent and worked out too well in the end for it to be realistic.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

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Books I Wish Were Part of the School Syllabus

Hello, friends! 

For most of you, school has started back up again. I don’t go to school anymore, but the start of the new year always makes me nostalgic. This time, I was thinking about the books I was required to read in school and then that got me thinking about all the books I wish were part of the school syllabus. I had great fun thinking up my fictional school syllabus so I thought, “Why not make a post about it and share it with you all?” and so here I am.

These are the books I wish were required reading in school…

English

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley: How can you not fall in love with English literature after reading this one? Seriously, the book is filled with references to classic (and a few contemporary!) books that will make you want to read all of them.

Geography

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven: Violet and Finch grow closer as they discover “the wonders of their state” together.

History

All the Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr because it’s a beautifully written book about both sides of the war, told through the POV of a blind, French girl and a German boy who’s part of Hitler’s army.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank because it’s a real life account (non-fiction) of what it was like to live during WWII.

Maths

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green: There’s so much maths in this one! Why? Because main character Colin “is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.” He uses a lot of mathematical equations throughout the novel, which are explained in the appendix of the book. Fun fact: they are all explained by a real mathemetician called Daniel Biss.

Physics

My Heart & Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga: Aysel is depressed and suicidal, but she’s also passionate about physics. In a way, thinking about her potential energy helps her give life another chance.

Social Studies

More Happy than Not by Adam Silvera because it’s deeply emotional read about finding out who you are and being okay with it even when it’s not “socially acceptable” (meaning: your friends and family might not accept you for it)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: this one is highly relevant in today’s society and a must-read for everyone. The story is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

P.E.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: I never liked P.E., but I’m telling you, reading this book made me wish I’d tried harder. Being physically fit might come in handy after all.

Art

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley: I love this author. I think she has a beautiful writing style and she knows how to tell a story. Graffiti Moon is a great book for aspiring artists or people who love graffiti since it plays a big role in the story. Shadow is both a mysterious graffiti artist and the love interest to main character Lucy.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson: both Noah and Judy are amazing artists which make me wish I had even ONE artistic bone in my body.

What do you think about my fictional school syllabus? Would you dread reading these books? Which ones would you choose? Also, does anyone know of a chemistry-related (YA) book because I couldn’t find any?? Let me know!

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